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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter April 2, 2013

Importance of Micellar Lifetime and Sub-micellar Aggregates in Detergency Processes

Bedeutung der mizellaren Lebensdauer und der submizellaren Aggregate in Waschverfahren
  • M. A. James-Smith , D. Shekhawat and D. O. Shah


Micelles are known to be dynamic entities, rapidly breaking and reforming continuously. Micellar dynamics can be manipulated by the addition of non-ionic or oppositely charged cosurfactant to a sodium dodecyl sulfate solution. Using filtration through nanoporous membranes we have shown that sodium dodecyl sulfate micellar solutions are not only made up of micelles and monomers, but also contain a high concentration of sub-micellar aggregates. The concentration of sub-micellar aggregates decreases as the micellar stability increases. We have investigated the role of micellar stability and sub-micellar aggregates in cleaning of fabrics and hard surfaces such as porcelain dishes. After careful observation, it was determined that more stable micelles and lower concentrations of sub-micellar aggregates lead to more efficient detergency. In summary, it is desirable to have relatively stable micelles and the least number of sub-micellar aggregates for efficient detergency.


Mizellen sind als dynamische Gebilde bekannt, die rasch aufbrechen und sich fortlaufend zurückbilden. Die mizellare Dynamik kann durch Addition von nichtionischen oder entgegengesetzt geladenen Co-Tensiden zu einer Natriumdodecylsulfat-Lösung beeinflusst werden. Mittels Filtration durch nanoporöse Membranen haben wir gezeigt, dass mizellare Lösungen von Natriumdodecylsulfat nicht nur aus Mizellen und Monomeren bestehen, sondern auch eine hohe Konzentration an submizellaren Aggregaten beinhalten. Die Konzentration von submizellaren Aggregaten nimmt mit steigender mizellarer Stabilität ab. Wir haben die Rolle der mizellaren Stabilität und der submizellaren Aggregate bei der Reinigung von Textilwaren und harten Oberflächen wie Porzellangeschirr untersucht. Nach sorgfältiger Beobachtung wurde ermittelt, dass mehr stabile Mizellen und niedrigere Konzentrationen an submizellaren Aggregaten zu einer effizienteren Waschkraft führen. Zusammengefasst ist es für eine effiziente Waschkraft wünschenswert relativ stabile Mizellen und die geringste Anzahl an submizellaren Aggregaten zu haben.

Dinesh O. Shah, Chemical Engineering Department PO Box 116005, University of Florida, FL-312611-6005 Gainesville, Tel.: +3523920877, Fax: +3523920127. E-mail:

Dinesh O. Shah received his Ph.D. in biophysics at Columbia University (1965). He is a Professor at the University of Florida, where he holds joint appointments in the Chemical Engineering Department and in the Anesthesiology Department. He is the Director of the Center for Surface Science & Engineering. In 1996 he was honored with the first Charles A. Stoke Professor award. His academic activities include research on monomolecular films, foams, wettability and contact angle, microemulsions, liquid crystals, spontaneous emulsification, enhanced oil recovery, combustion of coal dispersions in oils and aqueous media, surfactant-polymer interaction, lubrication and surface phenomena in magnetic media, preparation of nano-particles using microemulsions, enhanced filtration of viruses and nano-particles by surface modification of filter, enzymatic reactions in micellar, microemulsion and liquid crystalline systems, surface phenomena in membranes, lungs, vision, transdermal drug delivery, anesthesia, and nanoparticles for detoxification of blood and nano-medicine.

Monica A. James-Smith received her Ph.D. in chemical engineering at the University of Florida (2006). She obtained her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Tuskegee University (2000). She is currently doing post-doctoral research with Dr. Shah and will begin a post-doctoral appointment at the University of California at Santa Barbara in June 2007. Her Ph.D. thesis addressed the problems of understanding the molecular interactions at the oil/aqueous interface of microemulsions in relation to detoxification of blood, determining the factors that affect surfactant partitioning to the oil/water interface of macroemulsions, and determining the important molecular species in micellar solutions; namely, monomers, micelles, and sub-micellar aggregates. Monica will be working in the area of transdermal drug delivery at UCSB.

Dushyant Shekhawat graduated with his B. Tech from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay in 2002. He is currently completing his Ph.D. under the guidance of Professor Dinesh Shah at the Center for Surface Science and Engineering in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Florida.


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Received: 2007-03-09
Accepted: 2007-04-05
Published Online: 2013-04-02
Published in Print: 2007-06-01

© 2007, Carl Hanser Publisher, Munich

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